A little bit about Briards......
Briards are amazingly versatile. Their original purpose in the French countryside was an all-around farm helper. They moved livestock from place to place, kept them within grazing boundaries, and protected both farm and family from intruders. They possess uncanny intellect and intuition. Sometimes their independent thinking and judgement make me wonder if they might have the ability to reason. :) Briards take direction very well, but don't be fooled...they insert their own opinions and judgement into situations when you might wish they wouldn't.
The coat can be a challenge to care for, at least through the change from puppy to adult coat (at which time they are also known to change color...see LaRu's page for an idea of how the color can lighten and darken back up over time). Some coats can remain a challenge for the entire life of the dog. Regular grooming is essential, but if you are lucky enough to get a Briard with a correct coat of coarse texture, you'll find them very easy to maintain after the puppy transition.
You'll notice that some Briards have ears that stand up, and others are "floppy" (the correct terminology is "natural"). Both are equally acceptable under the AKC Standard, but most breeders in the USA prefer to crop their Briards. It is now illegal in most of Europe, however, and more are choosing to leave their Briards natural so they can be shown overseas. The cropped ears require some diligence to ensure that they stand properly, so I've actually grown to prefer the ease and soft look of the natural ear. In the end though, it's up to each Briard owner what they prefer.
Briard temperaments can range from outgoing and silly, to serious, reserved, and independent. For that reason, it is important to think long and hard about whether a Briard is a proper addition to your family. Work very closely with breeders regarding your expectations, and carefully consider your ability to provide the proper home for one of these exceptional animals.
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In loving memory of LaRu's buddy, Blossom (above). She left this world too soon, and will be missed by all who knew and loved her.